Police have released the identity of a 22-year-old man who they say shot and killed two people Wednesday night in an Elkhart supermarket before being shot and killed himself by officers. A look into the shooter's life reveals some disturbing details.
State police Sgt. Trent Smith says Shawn Walter Bair of Elkhart had been at the Martin's Supermarket in the 3900 block of E. Bristol St. for about 35 minutes – walking around, possibly texting and making phone calls. Recognizing the strange behavior, an unarmed security guard watched Bair's movements.
Then Bair opened fire, says Smith. He first shot and killed 20-year-old Krystle Dikes as she was stocking shelves.
Smith says Bair then walked to another aisle when he exchanged words with another employee who he shot at and missed while she ran away.
He later shot and killed 44-year-old Rachelle Godfread, a shopper, several aisles away.
Bair had the store manager on his knees, according to Smith, and was pointing a gun at him and taunting him for two full minutes as he appeared to pray.
Two Elkhart officers then entered the store and Bair ran off -- allowing the manager to escape. The officers then performed a systematic sweep of the building, finding Bair near the middle of the store.
Bair brandished his handgun and a knife, according to police, and the officer shot and killed him.
“No doubt Elkhart PD was prepared,” said Smith. “They knew what they were confronted with. They acted with bravery. They knew when they went into the store and heard the gunshot. They went there, and that was in an effort to stop [more people from dying] in the store.”
Smith said the Elkhart PD arrived within 3 minutes and did exactly what they should -- and saved lives in the process. He also praised employees who stayed by the doors to make sure everyone got out. Smith said their were good stories that came out of this terrible situation.
Employees told police Bair frequents the store but they have never had any issues with him.
A .40 caliber handgun and large hunting knife were found on Bair.
Police have not given any official word on a motive.
“There aren't words that can explain it,” Smith said. “You never know why this happens. People are depressed. People do things that aren't rational. You can't explain it a lot of the time.”
Many new details were revealed by police in a 10:30 a.m. news conference.
"These kinds of events are occurring around the country strike the very soul of who we are as human beings. And now it happened right here in Indiana,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter during the news conference.
"There's not a day that goes by, it seems like anymore, where we're not learning of a school shooting or at a business ... we hope that this would never come to our hometown and here it is," Smith said.
The Facebook page belonging to Bair (now deactivated) shows violent thoughts, and an interest in famous serial killers in history – He would use their photos as his profile image and had several quotes from serial killers posted.
The following posts were made over the past few years. Added up, they paint a disturbing portrait:
"I HOPE YOU ALL BURN IN THE FURTHEST PITS OF HELL I HOPE THE TORTURE LASTS FOREVER AND EVERY SECOND OF EVERY MINUTE YOUR THINKING ABOUT YOUR LOVED ONES. EVERYONE WILL PASS THROUGH TORTURE RACKS MADE OF BONE WITH RAZOR BLADES MADE FROM FIRE I WILL BE PICASSO WITH A FIRE RAZOR BLADE BENEATH MY FINGERS" -- posted August 13, 2011
"I have now realized that everybody should die no matter race or religion black white everybody will taste the cold metal of my knife and death shall follow me collecting souls of the wicked and past on" -- posted December 19, 2010
"In such a society that pressures everybody to be the same. Ticking time
bombs are ticking away in the heads of the unknown people walking among
everybody dismissed as sick or who has a chemical unbalance. In the end
lives are lost and bombs explode but not before taking victims with
them. The loss is blamed on parents ...or bad experiences but its do to the
fact that some bombs were meant explode." -- posted December 12, 2010
We are doing some investigating and we've found Bair has a criminal record in Elkhart County.
In 2010, Bair pleaded guilty to theft from a different Elkhart Martin's Supermarket on Jackson Street.
According to court documents he was charged for that theft on January 15th 2010, that would have been four years ago yesterday, the day of the shooting.
According to court records, following the theft he was committed to the Oaklawn Psychiatric Facility for 72 hours.
He was also convicted for possession of marijuana and hash or hash oil in 2009.
Also Thursday, WSBT stopped by Bair’s house.
It’s a little over a mile and a half from this Martin’s location.
Police have searched the house, saying they collected evidence there -- but wouldn’t say what.
Police say Bair shopped at this store often. The employees knew him.
And Wednesday night he walked there, which is not anything out of the norm for him, because he walked pretty much everywhere.
We also talked with one of Bair’s aunts, who says she never knew him to have a gun or be violent.
“He’s not that kind of person to go hurt somebody,” said Colleen Ruiz. “More to help somebody, yeah. He might have had, when he was drunk, being a butt, you know? Or doing some stupid things just like any other kid has tried – you know what I’m saying? But to do this? No. it doesn’t make sense”
Friends tell us Bair was fascinated by serial killers, but that they never expected him to lash out on innocent people the way he did.
"I never expected he might do something to hurt somebody else or anything like that," said Nathan Joiner, a friend of Bair's who grew apart from him in recent years.
"He was always kind of fascinated by serial killers. I wouldn't say he wanted to be one. But he was kind of interested in how their minds worked -- like, what made them the way that they were," Joiner said.
"He always seemed out there, I guess you could say, but it never really seemed like an unhealthy fascination," said Donald Vincent, another friend.
Investigators say they don’t have a motive right now, but state police say there is no doubt Bair went into this store with a mission. He knew what he was doing, he planned it out ahead of time.
We don’t know who Bair was texting or calling in that 35 minutes from the time he walked in until he started shooting.
Police say they think he fired between 7 and 10 rounds from his .40 caliber semi-automatic weapon.
He also had more ammunition with him. They wouldn’t tell us how much.
Dottie Strepp was Bair's neighbor and told WSBT she was shocked to find out the boy who lived two doors down was responsible for something so senseless.
"He wore a lot of black, and the people that come to see him or visiting there had black clothes and black hair and black nail polish," described Strepp. "I asked him one time to mow my yard for me, to help me. Oh no. Nothing to do with work. He was kind of a loner."